Ask anyone in the Sunday School class I teach each week and they will tell you–I love to share what God says to me when I am in my holy of holies, my shower.
Today the Lord once again brought a smile to my face as he reminded me of one of the toughest things about our transition out of the field in 2004. This week, we’ve been cleaning house and looking for more space in our condo in preparation for a visit by my mother and sister in law next week. In the process, we drug out some old boxes of records and started tossing things we have stuffed away in haste or considered too important to toss. Going through the things I found so many things that are not needed now that we are 9 years removed from our field ministry.
Why have we kept this stuff for so long?
Because it was too hard to let go of them at the time!
Freshly returned from the field, those maps of Sumatra and Java, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Manila were keepsakes and souvenirs of our travels and ministry. How could we let go of those once valuable tools and memories? Digging a bit deeper into those treasures we found slides of our first ministry experiences with Literacy & Evangelism International. We even kept our off-brand slide projector! After all, what good missionary did not have a slide projector, eh?
In the shower God reminded me of how hard it was for Moses when He asked Moses to put down his trusted rod or shepherd’s staff (Exodus 4). That rod changed right before his eyes and became something very different and yet God told Moses to pick it up… the end of this discourse is that Moses’ rod became God’s rod by the end of this exchange. I think God allowed us to slowly let go of the things that were once so dear to us in the ministry season God had brought us into in SE Asia. But when it was God’s time for us to move, ready or not, we had to begin letting go of the dear and familiar. Letting go has let us take up God’s purpose (rod) and move into new roles and seasons of ministry.
I smiled because it didn’t hurt to let go now. It is OK to make room for the new and let go of the past. For us, a busy life kept us from hanging on tightly to some of those things, but now we realize that we really need the space for the new (and the guests) and we will always have the memories. Sure, we kept a few things… they are precious after all!
Praying your transition to that new place God is moving you toward is full of anticipation and grace to let go when the time comes!